Narrow win for Richard Hunter in Isle of Man
The 2019 Isle of Man Go Festival, held in memory of its creator, Leo Phillips, took place in Port Erin in a new venue, St Andrew’s Church Hall. Although attendance was a disappointing 21 the participants (and several spouses and friends) were a friendly lot and the congress spirit of previous years continued. The new venue proved a success. It was slightly nearer the sea providing a seaview from the kitchen window (the well equipped kitchen also doubling up as an analysis room). Although the cooler than usual for August and slightly breezy weather meant that no one took advantage of the garden to play outside while admiring the seaview.
The main Open tournament was won narrowly on tie-break by Richard Hunter (1d Bristol) from Sandy Taylor (2d Cambridge), but Sandy got his revenge by winning the Afternoon Tournament. Commended were Denis Becker (7k Grenoble, France) with 4/5 in the Main, and Ed Blockley (6k Worcester) with 3/3 in the afternoon. The 13x13 event was won by Charlotte Bexfield with an unbeaten score, with the rengo won by the Denis Becker and Alan Dean partnership. Two prizes were awarded in the handicap tournament to Richard Hunter and Denis Becker. The "fighting spirit" prize went to Alan Dean (5k Exeter) while his wife, Barbie (7k), got a special prize for having three games within one point!
The Congress experienced typically mixed manx weather but rescheduling of the day off from the forecast rain of Wednesday to Tuesday enabled everyone to make the most of the glorious Tuesday sunshine, with clear views across the seven kingdoms rewarding those who made the trek to the top of Snaefell. There was also sufficient sunshine to enable the ritual large sandcastle to be built.
It was a shame that organiser Francis Roads was unable to attend at the last minute, but tournament regulars Alison Bexfield , Toby Manning and Richard Wheeldon stepped in to run the various events during the week. Local player Roger Kent provided some unique and interesting prizes.